Dungeon Siege III Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Square Enix
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:2011-06-21
Genre:
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Had it not been for David Hoffman, Square Enix's director of business development, Obsidian Entertainment might not have been the company that was chosen to develop Dungeon Siege III. Since he played such a pivotal role in setting all of the necessary events in motion, he was one of the first people I wanted to chat with during my time in Irvine earlier this month. Interestingly enough, when David discovered that I focus entirely on role-playing games on GameBanshee, he actually kicks off the conversation:

David: I started early playing role-playing games, too. I've been playing them since I was little, and when I was I'm dating myself again, I think when I was ten or so, I started with D&D and Advanced D&D. I had my own maps, created my own little graph paper maps, total nerd. I loved it. And I still love it even today. That's why I'm here doing what I do.


GB: Yeah, I spent much of my youth DMing various Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and in the CRPG space, I initially cut my teeth on Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord on an old Apple II, The Bard's Tale on a Tandy 1000, and Dungeons of Daggorath on a TRS-80.

David: Yeah, I still have my Apple IIe at home with all my five and a quarter inch disks, double sided thanks to a hole puncher.


GB: Good times, good times.

David: Oh, good times for sure, man. I have the old Infocom stuff too. So I'm right there with you. We're old school.


GB: It's good to hear that I'm not the only one with such fond memories of the classics. [laughter] Back on topic, when did you originally approach Obsidian Entertainment to develop a western RPG?

David: I think it was two years ago. Yeah, something like that. It seems like ten years ago. So much has happened since we first approached Obsidian. I basically just said, (Look, Square asked me to make a list of suitable studios that I thought could handle producing a AAA RPG, or action RPG,) and it wasn't easy.

A lot of the studios are purchased already, or their core strength isn't in action RPG. And that's really important to Square - we want to focus on the core strength and to really build upon it, and so I identifid a number of studios. Obsidian was at the top of my list.

So I called over here and spoke to Feargus. We talked a little bit about it. He was like, (Yeah, sure. Come on down.) He didn't know me from Adam. We didn't have a prior relationship. There was no buddy-buddy, let's get together and make a game, nothing like that. I came down and took a tour of his office. We talked a little bit about what kind of game he was currently working on and what they wanted to do in the future because that's really important to Square too when we're talking to external studios.

A lot of people come to me and say, (Well, Dave. What do you want? Tell me what you want and I'll make it for you.) And then I think about it and I say, (If I tell you want I want and you make it for me, then I'm going to get a plain white fence. Let's say I'm asking you to build me a fence. I'm going to get a plain white fence, and it'll suit my needs. It'll do what the purpose of the fence is supposed to do. But is it going to be anything special? No, I don't think so.) It's more about, (What do you want to make, Obsidian? What are your strengths and how can you take this particular IP, in this case Dungeon Siege, and make it gravitate way past a white fence?) That's how we started the conversation.

Once we came to an agreement in terms of what we wanted to do, and what their strengths were, and how it would work in an action RPG, I informed Square Japan. We actually had some high-level executives including Wada-san himself come out here, sit down with the team and the executives here at Obsidian, and really just kind of just talk about it and about how we make RPGs versus how the west makes them. We were really interested to compare notes on that. Wada-san even made the comment that Obsidian seemed like Square did in its earlier days. That felt like a memorable statement to me personally because I really value and respect Wada-san, and if he identified Obsidian as a fledgling Square, that could mean great things for the future of Obsidian. So it just kind of naturally evolved from there.
X-COM - The Digital Antiquarian
X-COM - The Digital Antiquarian

The latest entry on The Digital Antiquarian blog is dedicated entirely to


Torchlight III Early Access Update
Torchlight III Early Access Update

Earlier this week, Echtra Games launched the so-called Update for Dummies for


Dauntless - Untamed Wilds Update Live
Dauntless - Untamed Wilds Update Live

Phoenix Labs has put together a new content update for their free


Cyberpunk 2077 - Night City Wire, Episode 3
Cyberpunk 2077 - Night City Wire, Episode 3

The latest episode of CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077-focused Night City Wire livestream


Path of Exile: Heist Live
Path of Exile: Heist Live

Heist, this year’s third challenge league expansion for Grinding Gear Games’ free


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands - Afterlives: Revendreth Cinematic
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands - Afterlives: Revendreth Cinematic

The fourth and final Afterlives cinematic for World of Warcraft’s upcoming Shadowlands


Necromunda: Underhive Wars - Tips Trailer
Necromunda: Underhive Wars - Tips Trailer

If you’d like to know how to best tackle the plentiful tactical


Hades Leaves Early Access, Reviews
Hades Leaves Early Access, Reviews

Following roughly two years of early access, Supergiant Games’ Greek mythology-inspired roguelite


Fallout 76 - September 2020 Updates
Fallout 76 - September 2020 Updates

A few days back, Bethesda released the One Wasteland content update for


Phoenix Point: Year One Edition Announced
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition Announced

Snapshot Games will be launching the definitive Year One Edition of their


The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Released
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Released

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos, a zany dungeon-crawling RPG


Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark - Anniversary Celebrations and Updates
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark - Anniversary Celebrations and Updates

6 Eyes Studio launched their turn-based tactical RPG Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark


Guild Wars 2 - Sunqua Peak Live
Guild Wars 2 - Sunqua Peak Live

Sunqua Peak, the latest Fractal of the Mist you can tackle in


Archaelund Development Update #2
Archaelund Development Update #2

The developers over at 4 Dimension Games bring us a new update


Tainted Grail Update - Guardian Changes
Tainted Grail Update - Guardian Changes

This week’s early access update for Awaken Realms Digital’s Arthurian RPG Tainted